Last week I had my first colonoscopy. At first I was apprehensive after hearing so many horror stories about the prep as well as people waking up during the actual procedure. But once it all began, it wasn’t too bad.
3 Days prior to the prep:
From everything I’ve read, I thought it easier on my body if I stopped eating meat, chicken and fish three days prior to the prep. Basically I ate a diet similar to what one would eat if they had the stomach flu. I also ate a lot less during those three days in a way to prepare my body for the 24 hour onslaught that was imminent.
Preparing for the prep:
I set up a TV Tray in my bathroom. On it I put my iPad, Sudoku puzzle book, cordless telephone (you never know if you need to call for help), an interesting novel, and a box of baby wipes for sensitive skin. Yes, baby wipes. A girlfriend’s sister said her bottom got so sore the only thing she could use to on it was the baby wipes. In addition to setting up a living room in my bathroom, I set aside the entire day to relax even though the prep didn’t begin until 3pm.
First thing in the morning:
No food, but lots of liquids are permitted. So I have my morning coffee, my morning jug of water and an apple juice. I also mix the Trylite mixture with the lemon/lime flavor packet (it’s the only one that sounded remotely palatable to me) and place the jug in the fridge.
3pm – the prep begins:
I took 4 teeny, tiny pills at 3pm. For those of you squeamish about swallowing pills, these are smaller than anything you’ve ever seen and they are easier to swallow than a bite of food. After taking the pills, I sat down in front of the television and waited. Tick, tock, tick, tock…nothing happening.
5pm – the real prep begins:
I begin to drink the Trylite. According to the instructions, you’re supposed to drink 8 ounces every 10-15 minutes, consuming in total a minimum of 2/3 of the jug which equals approximately 128 ounces (16 – 8oz. glasses).
Everyone says the Trylite is disgusting. Well, personally it’s not “good” by any sense of the term, however it is doable. To me, it tasted like a salty, smelly sock. It looked like it had the consistency of water yet in the mouth felt more like a gel consistency. Okay, it was gross but, again, doable, especially if you use a straw to gulp through. And after watching TV, bored while waiting, I finally started to “go” around 6:30pm.
Part way through all of this I started getting very cold and shaky. From what I understand, this is normal due to the dehydration that’s taking place even though I continued to drink lots of water and apple juice in between drinking the Trylite.
After getting 2/3 of the fluid in me, I felt like it was all sitting in my chest. Even though I was thoroughly “cleaned out” with virtually no distress, discomfort and any other issues, I was paranoid about not having to do this again if the doctor wasn’t pleased with my prep results. So I went to drink the last 1/3 of the Trylite. With one sip of the next cup, at least 1/3 of everything I drank came right back up. At least I was next to the kitchen sink so I didn’t have a mess on my hands! I’m only telling you this so that you’re prepared in case your system rebels like mine did.
Getting sick was the signal to me that I was done with the Trylite. Oddly enough, after getting sick, I was no longer cold or shaky. I actually felt really good! I went to sleep at the normal time, woke up once or twice to go to the bathroom and then slept until it was time to get up and go to the doctor’s office.
Day of the Colonoscopy:
It’s best to get the first appointment of the day so I arrived at my scheduled time of 7am. Because my doctor has a GI lab in his office, I did not have to go to the hospital. This was lovely because I had a private room, three nurses looking after me, an anesthesiologist and the doctor. I knew I was in good hands.
The actual procedure took 30 minutes and recovery from the anesthesia took about 40 minutes. I walked out of the doctor’s office at 9am clear headed (although my mother did drive me as I was instructed not to drive or make any important decisions for 24 hours).
My results: I was as cleaned out as a person could be (yay!) and my colon was totally healthy (double yay!). Most people with results like this get a 10-year reprieve before they have to go through all this again. However, since my grandmother had colon cancer in her mid-80s, I have to repeat this whole procedure in 5 years. If I’m still perfectly healthy then, I will get my 10-year reprieve.
Remember, it’s better to be safe than sorry when dealing with a completely detectable and treatable (if caught early) dreadful disease. So if you haven’t scheduled your first colonoscopy, I urge you to do so. Isn’t your life worth it?
Be Present, Be Purposeful, Be Well